UPDATED 2019/03/08 3:00PM
Officials announced earlier this week that Uber will not face any criminal charges in the death of a pedestrian who was struck by one of their self-driving cars in Tempe, Arizona last year. The pedestrian was walking a bicycle across a road at night when the self-driving software system initially classified them as an unknown object, then a vehicle and then a bike, but never stopped.
The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office said that it conducted a review of the evidence and determined that Uber is not criminally liable.
Though Uber is not liable, the employee behind the wheel of the SUC could face criminal charges. Video showed the test driver was distracted and not watching the road. Companies working on self-driving cars have test drivers who are meant to intervene in cases such as these.
There is no real precedent for holding companies liable in these situations, but there is no way to prove that the company knew the software would fail, and therefore cannot be held liable. It’s also a struggle because it is the first case of its kind, and people are trying to figure out what and how to hold a company responsible in situations such as these.